How to check your credit record
If you’re curious about your credit score, or worried about arrears affecting future borrowing, checking your credit report is easy. Here’s how to check your credit history, your credit check rights, & what your credit score means.
What is a credit rating?
Lenders may use your credit rating or ‘score’ to assess your application and help them decide whether you’re creditworthy.
Individual lenders use their own rating system based on the information you’ve provided as part of your application and your credit history.
Your credit record based on your history will hold information like whether:
- you’ve kept your credit payments up to date
- how often you make late payments
- you are in arrears or have been in the past
Until recently the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB) also offered a credit score based on a person’s financial profile.
However, the ICB recently ceased its credit reference service and lenders now use reports from the Central Credit Register (CCR) and tend to use their own internal scoring system instead.
What does your credit score mean?
Typically, if you have a high credit score or rating, you’re considered to be less risky by potential lenders. This can be for several reasons, e.g. if you’re more likely to make all your repayments on time.
Lenders may use a score in part, to help them decide:
- Whether they will lend to you
- How much they will lend you
- What interest rate they can offer you
A high credit score isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a loan, and a low score doesn’t always mean you won’t be able to borrow.
Why should you check your credit report?
It’s good to review your credit history on a regular basis and always before you apply for credit. You’ll be credit checked if you’re planning to:
- Take out a loan
- Get a credit card
- Apply for a mortgage
- Buy a bill pay mobile
Lenders check your credit record to decide whether they will lend to you, and how much your borrowing will cost.
They also use it to check your name and address details are accurate, so make sure these are correct and up to date.
Even if you think your credit record is good, you may discover things on your report you didn’t know about. It can flag up things like:
- Arrears on an old loan you’d forgotten about e.g. a student loan
- A loan still showing as outstanding, that’s actually been cleared
- Loan arrears that have long been paid off
- Credit that you didn’t apply for - you may be a victim of impersonation
It can also remind you of when you last had arrears and how long you’ve been free of them. This can be useful when choosing a lender, because some have stricter lending criteria than others.
How do you get your credit report?
You can check your credit record for free on the Central Credit Register website.
To apply for your credit report you’ll need to complete an application form and provide three types of identification:
Documents you need are:
- photo with signature, such as passport or driving licence
- recent proof of your address
- proof of your PPSN
Your credit check rights
If you do find something on your report that you disagree with or you think is incorrect, you have the right to:
- Add a statement of up to 200 words
- Apply for the information to be amended
- Report suspected impersonation
You should report any errors to the lender, not the credit agency, because it’s the lender that must request for the information to be changed.
What is bad credit?
When you struggle to keep up to date with your financial commitments, it’s recorded on your credit record. Your credit record may be negatively impacted by:
Having a low credit rating can make future borrowing difficult for things like: loans, credit cards and mortgages.
How to improve your credit rating
There are many ways you can boost your credit score, including:
Credit record FAQs
How long will information about my loans stay on my credit report for?
Details will be kept about your credit agreements for five years from when they’ve been paid off.
For example, if you have a personal loan that runs for three years, lenders will be able to see information about its history for a further five years, until it’s wiped from your record.
If I request my credit report, can it affect my credit rating?
No, you can request as many checks as you need and it won’t affect your credit score or rating.
Too many credit checks made by lenders when you apply for credit may affect your credit score, because it can be a sign that you’re having difficulty getting credit.
What happens if I find a mistake on my credit report?
If you find a mistake, you should contact the lender it relates to and ask them to correct the information they submitted to the credit agency.
The credit agency can’t change the information unless the lender advises them to.
What is the Central Credit Register?
It’s operated and owned by the Central Bank of Ireland, and has been storing information about loans of €500 and over, since 2017.
Lenders must register details of loans with the Central Credit Register by law.
It’s also a requirement that lenders check your credit report using this database for any loans of €2,000 or more - and they don’t need your consent to do this.
Here’s more about how it works and exactly what’s included on the central credit register.
What has happened to the Irish Credit Bureau (ICB)?
The ICB was owned by its members, such as banks, card issuers, mortgage providers and local authorities. It was formed to help speed up the process of getting credit, reduce the cost of credit, and help prevent fraud.
ICB’s credit records are no longer available for credit referencing purposes. Lenders will now use reports from the Central Credit Register (CCR), operated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
ICB will delete all its records other than those required to respond to subject access requests received. This deletion is planned from 1 November 2021. It will respond to all subject access requests received up to 31st October 2021.
You can now obtain your credit report from the Central Credit Register.
Will my credit score stay the same?
No. Individual lenders will have different rating systems and your score is only a snapshot of your credit status at a particular time.
It is possible to maintain a good score though by always paying on time and in full. It’s also possible to turn a bad score into a good score, and vice versa.
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